Archive for February 19th, 2012
Peter Lawler, citing to the writings of Dr. Craig Bowron, argues that “we’re much less accepting of the thought that death necessarily completes every natural life.” I agree. Why is this so? Lawler suggests that “Each of us has a hard time thinking of himself or herself as a biological being.” Why would that be so? Lawler offers the following:
1. Changing demographics. 80% of Americans live in urban areas, where death (especially the death of non-human animals) is rarely witnessed, and our food (notably our meat) is antiseptically prepared by grocery stores. Because most of us don’t live in places where we see death as an ordinary and necessary part of life, we are better able to deny it.
2. In modern society, we segregate our elderly off to special places where we don’t see them. Back in 1850, 70 percent of “white elderly adults lived with their children.” Today, that number is only 16%.
At bottom, our young “know less and less and about being old and less and less about death and dying.”
If Whitney Houston had died from the use of marijuana, politicians would have been screaming to enact even more vigorous anti-marijuana laws. Those who care about evidence know, however, that marijuana is an notably safe drug–it doesn’t cause people to die. Whitney Houston actually died after abusing alcohol, a drug that causes many people to die every year. Because it was alcohol rather than a scheduled substance, Americans treat it as a sad occurrence, without villainizing Houston. In modern-day America, despite the grave dangers of alcohol abuse, alcohol related deaths are given winks and nods by our politicians:
Because drinking is legal for adults, safe in moderation, the rightful font of epicurean reveries and the foundation of a multibillion-dollar industry with lobbyists galore, it gets something of a pass. . . . [H]eavy drinking is the third leading preventable cause of death in this country, after smoking and a combination of bad diet and inactivity. By conservative estimates, it’s directly related to about 80,000 deaths each year, an agent of — or co-conspirator in — cirrhosis, esophageal cancer, overdose, homicide and much, much more. It seeds and squires a broad range of diseases. Multiplies the effects of illicit and prescription drugs. Adds the twitch to a trigger finger. Puts the wobble in legs on a staircase or hands on a steering wheel. And while 8 percent of Americans ages 12 and over use illicit drugs, 34 percent are addicted to alcohol or indulge in what public health officials consider risky drinking . . . .
Bill Moyers applauds the Presidents position on mandating birth control coverage:
The president did something agile and wise the other day. And something quite important to the health of our politics. He reached up and snuffed out what some folks wanted to make into a cosmic battle between good and evil. No, said the president, we’re not going to turn the argument over contraception into Armageddon, this is an honest difference between Americans, and I’ll not see it escalated into a holy war. So instead of the government requiring Catholic hospitals and other faith-based institutions to provide employees with health coverage involving contraceptives, the insurance companies will offer that coverage, and offer it free.
At Huffpo (same link as above), a writer named Michael Dodd, perturbed that many conservative politicians oppose even this compromise, turns their argument (why should citizens be made to pay for things that they morally oppose) on its head:
Okay, people, those of you who think it is all about “why should we pay for anything?” Why should churches NOT pay taxes? Why do I have to support THEM by paying taxes so that the roads to their buildings are built and the snow plowed? Why do I have to support churches who use the money they save by not paying taxes to pay advertising firms to produce anti-equality ads to suppress equal rights for tax-paying citizens who happen to be LGBT? Why should my taxes make it possible for them to use the money saved to pay salaries to lawyers to shield pedophiles?